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The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

Should you put your pronouns in your bio?

By Alexandra Fadel
Staff Writer

With 2020 having been a year of heightened social awareness, the question of whether or not people should publicly display their pronouns has been frequently asked. The concept of gender and what falls beneath it is new to many, but people should still make the effort to educate themselves on it. That includes pronouns.

Pronouns are words that substitute someone’s name when directly referring to them. Although there are many other pronouns people use, the most common ones are she/her, he/him, and they/them. Cis-gendered people identify with one’s assigned sex at birth, and often use she/her or he/him. They/them is a standard set of pronouns used for people who might be non-binary, meaning they do not necessarily align with the male-female gender binary. Part of treating people with respect is making them feel comfortable, which includes referring to them by using the pronouns they identify with.

Putting one’s pronouns in their bio is one of the simplest ways to show allyship. (Courtesy to The Standard, Illustrated by Katie Batliner).

As a genderfluid—not identifying with a specific gender—and queer person myself, when people ask me what my pronouns are, I don’t mind and usually answer with “any,” but hearing someone other than me or another queer person start the conversation is a lot less pressuring. Many other non-cisgendered people feel this as well, like former MAST GSA president Jesse Kalavritinos.

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“I believe it helps when non-transgender people disclose their pronouns. I have had someone tell me their pronouns during our first interaction, and that alone made me feel safer,” Kalavritinos said.

If you consider yourself an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, putting your pronouns in your bio is a great first step to show your support.

“I think it’s important that cisgender people display their pronouns because when only transgender people do so, it alienates us,” Kalavritinos said.

This alienation leads to bullying and harassment, things queer people are very familiar with when navigating online and real-life spaces. However, when more people start to treat stating their pronouns as the standard, it can make online communities much more inclusive and safe for transgender and non-binary individuals.

To understand why queer people are often outlying and treated as the “other,” it is important to acknowledge the history that comes with the queer community and their current place in society. Being LGBTQ+ has always, in the best light, been considered out of the ordinary. Gay people have been persecuted and discriminated against, and being gay was even considered a mental illness in the past. In the early 1950s, the Lavender Scare—the governmentally-fueled persecution of gays and lesbians that left thousands unemployed—marked America’s stance on the queer community at the time.

Later, the Stonewall riots in 1969, an uprising of the queer community against unnecessary police raids, started the movement many people know today as the Gay Liberation Movement. Regardless of the progress made, LGBTQ+ people in the United States and around the world are still ostracized and killed because of their sexual orientations or gender expressions. This prejudiced treatment translates online as well, in that queer people are targeted by homophobic and transphobic groups, and even members of their own community.

Inclusivity is a crucial pillar for the queer collective, but the topic of pronouns and putting them on public display is debated amongst queer people as well. Many people in the LGBTQ+ community still do not see the point of, or agree with, exhibiting one’s pronouns.

“There is a correlation of allyship of the transgender/gender non-conforming community, however, I have met transphobic LGB people,” says Kalavritinos.

Personally, I think cisgendered members of the LGBTQ+ community are just as responsible for supporting transgender and non-binary folk than their heterosexual counterparts. Regardless of their sexual identity or reason for being part of the community, queer people should still show their support for groups they are not a part of.

As a general rule of thumb, people should make their pronouns visible; however, there are exceptions to this. For example, some members of the LGBTQ+ community may not be comfortable, or safe, stating their pronouns. In these situations, as an ally or as a queer person, you should not put pressure on people to disclose their pronouns.

Some people know they would receive backlash because of their identity, or are not even completely sure of how they identify, which is also valid. Making your pronouns known in a public space should only be done when it will not cause serious harm to you.

There are many opportunities for cis-gendered and heterosexual people to demonstrate their allyship to the queer community. Putting your pronouns in your bio is one of the easiest ways to stand in solidarity with the trans and non-binary communities, especially within online spaces.

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Should you put your pronouns in your bio?